THE CUCKOLD EXPLORES THE SUBJUNCTIVE
If I were a flag, I’d be Japan:
the white of surrender
with a red throb in the center.
If I was a fruit, I’d be uneaten.
If I was money, I’d be unearned.
If I were an organization, I’d be the UN.
If I were a pronoun, I’d be them.
If I were a fluid, I’d be smuggled rum.
In a missile fight, I bring a gun.
If I was a point, I’d be moot.
If I were a tree part, I’d be the hard root.
Hard as I watched, hard as I listened.
Hard as he leaned, hard as she twisted.
Hard as he roared, hard as she glistened.
Hard as the price I paid for this wisdom.
JEFFREY MCDANIEL is the author of 5 books of poetry. His fifth book, Chapel of Inadvertent Joy, was just published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in the Hudson Valley.
Read more work by Jeffrey McDaniel:
Poem in B O D Y
Another poem in B O D Y
A selection of work at The Poetry Foundation
Poem at Poets.org
Article in Poetry